While the fourth-century fragment of papyrus is being tested and retested to determine IF it is authentic, the possibility holds a dramatic flare.
Let’s be clear right away, I am not wanting to create a debate on the issue of whether or not it’s true. No, honestly what I am most surprised and interested in noting is the reactions and responses of some of the religious leaders.
In one article Too holy for sex? The problem of a married Jesus states that:
“If Jesus is a normal human being and he is sexual that’s the real fear…”
Wait really? Why are we afraid of this? Are we afraid of Jesus being a sexual being? Or afraid that He might of had a wife? Do either of these things change the truth of Jesus being Jesus?
The foundation of the Christian faith is based on the fact that God sent Jesus to earth through a human woman – her name was Mary. She conceived and carried him within her womb for nine months and ultimately birthed Jesus in a stable. He lived and breathed and walked among us, revealing God to us.
I once heard a great Christian leader of our time, J Phillip Newell say,
“Jesus didn’t come to show us who he was, but rather to show us what we are capable of being.”
And wouldn’t we all agree that sexuality,of all places, is one where we most definitely need to have direction and need to know what we are capable of being? I would say so.
Ok, I know I am treading on delicate ground here and that no one wants to think about the fact that Jesus – yes Jesus – he did have male genitals. I am guessing that he also was daily engaged with his genitals for bodily functions, like men often are… are you getting the picture here? Jesus was fully man and he was also fully holy. So does it make us nervous to think of Jesus as fully human or that in being fully human he was also sexual?
James Tabor a biblical scholar from University of North Carolina remarked,
“You can’t think of Jesus as that (sexual), he’s too holy.”
Jesus too holy to be sexual? Why do we think that having a wife and assuming they had sex, would some how make Jesus less holy, unless we believe that sex cannot be holy.
There can be discomfort in reexamining our deeply held beliefs about sex and yet the truth is, God created sex and we were created as sexual beings! Who better to know and understand the mystery of integration between physical, emotional and spiritual, than the one who created it?? And do we believe, at our very core, that ALL God created is holy, including sex?
I believe at the core of our spirituality is an invitation to experience our sexuality as something holy, something filled with wonder and exploration. Who better to show us the path to discover holy sexuality than the One who created it?
At some point there will be tests of this piece of papyrus, conclusions will be reached and ultimately this “did Jesus have a wife” question will fall to the background for awhile. Whether or not this drama holds any real evidence about Jesus, it sure has done one thing. It has definitely revealed some core beliefs about how sex is viewed among many religious leaders of our time.
photo credit can be found: http://bit.ly/P64G53